Garlic has many beneficial properties that have been attributed to it for homeopathic remedies and holistic health. While none of these have been proven in controlled trials due to the high cost of conducting such research, anecdotal evidence suggests that there is some truth to many of the claims of garlic's benefits. While how much garlic to eat daily isn't precisely pinned down to an exact amount, proponents of natural supplements and remedies suggest at least a clove a day, and two or three cloves is often recommended. This is best consumed as fresh garlic, as some nutrients may be lost during the drying process, and packaged dried garlic or supplemental pills may also have added preservatives.
The benefits of eating garlic
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, garlic has a number of benefits to overall health. Studies note the possible benefit of garlic in lowering blood pressure and lowering "bad" cholesterol levels, though the latter is the subject of some debate. In addition, garlic may help prevent heart disease by thinning the blood and slowing the progression of atherosclerosis. Perhaps most significant, garlic appears to lower the risk of cancer, with studies indicating a 30 to 35 percent reduction in the risk of colorectal cancer when the suggested amount of garlic is eaten every day.
Other ways to benefit from garlic
The benefits of eating garlic are highly touted, and its topical uses should not be discounted. Garlic has certain compounds that give it antifungal properties, and it is often applied directly to infection sites in sliced or pulverized form. Most notably, garlic may be used as a foot poultice or nail soak to help get rid of fungal infections. Some studies suggest that garlic may also have antibacterial and antiviral properties. Because of its high levels of antioxidants, proponents of garlic suggest it as an ingredient in anti-aging facial masks as well.
Why garlic should be eaten every day
The pharmaceutical world has largely conditioned consumers with the instant gratification mentality-you get sick, you take a pill and then feel better. Natural remedies and natural health mechanisms don't work in the same way. With a pill, the desired compounds for the desired effect are isolated or synthesized and then delivered in a concentrated form. While the effects are faster, side effects often ensue as the body struggles to adjust. Therefore, it is best to eat a well-rounded diet that includes certain types of beneficial plants every day. Many of the compounds that are thought to have these effects are stored in the body over time, so regular consumption will give you the maximum benefit that the plant has to offer.
How to get more garlic in your diet
If you love garlic, one to three cloves a day may not sound like much, especially if you enjoy a lot of home-prepared meals. However, if you're constantly on the go or eat at restaurants several times a week, it may be a little more challenging to get the right amount of garlic into your diet. You may opt to simply bring your own garlic the next time you're dining out, as garlic has an excellent shelf life and does not need refrigeration before it's cut. Alternatively, homemade vegetable juice or a "vegetable smoothie" can be a delicious, fast and convenient vehicle for your daily garlic requirements.